Social RoboticsFigure 1. Social Robotics VS. Classical Robotics.
As technology evolves and the demand for adopting robots to serve people increases, Social Robotics is becoming a promising field in the study of “Human-Robot Coexistence”. We can refer this problem area as “Robot Sociability Problems” which refers to associated problems that will resemble or merge with those in other fields as robots are increasingly integrated into human society.
Sociability is the skill, tendency or property of being sociable or social, or of interacting well with others. This ability is very important to human beings; compared with human sociability, robot sociability is clearly artificial, and therefore the property and relationship between humans and robots can be totally controlled by humans. Designing Robot Sociability can be divided into two aspects. The first is a micro perspective or Human-Robot Interaction, which covers various unspoken rules in human-robot daily interactions. For example, for a service robot in human living environments it is important for it to know proximities or how to keep a proper distance from different people or situations. The second is the macro perspective, where the aim is to decide what kind of ethics, policy and law can be applied into autonomous robots, called Social System Design. There will be a strong demand for working ethical and legal factors into the design process of intelligent sociable robots as they are incorporated into human society. On the one hand, intelligent robots should abide by moral obligations from a human-centered value system, but on the other hand, regulators have to consider the design of corresponding social systems in order to support their daily interactions within human living environments. Therefore, we will need an interdisciplinary way of thinking about the design of intelligent robots.
Based on Figure 1, our special interest in Social Robotics is to investigate the intersection between Human-Robot Interaction and Social System Design. For example, explorations may be: how we can make robots more socially compatible? ; how service robots are received by public’s “social acceptance” in different societies? ; Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics as a feasible solution for implementing the “Safety Intelligence” to ensure human-robot safely interaction? ; and how to consider cultural background to discuss the rules or norms of human-robot interaction?
01. Yueh-Hsuan Weng (2010) Beyond Robot Ethics: On a Legislative Consortium for Social Robotics, Advanced Robotics, Vol. 24, No. 13, Page 1919-1926, Leiden: VSP-BRILL [PDF]
02. Yueh-Hsuan Weng, Chien-Hsun Chen and Cheun-Tsai Sun (2009) Toward The Human-Robot Co-Existence Society: On Safety Intelligence for Next Generation Robots, International Journal of Social Robotics, Vol.1, No.4, Page 267-282, Springer Netherlands [PDF]
03. Yueh-Hsuan Weng, Chien-Hsun Chen and Cheun-Tsai Sun (2008) Safety Intelligence and Legal Machine Language-Do we need the Three Laws of Robotics?, Y. Takahashi (Ed.) in Service Robot Applications, Vienna: I -Tech Education & Publishing KG [PDF]